Riovaz is a rising artist from New Jersey, who has been featured on Lyrical Lemonade a few times this year. It’s not shocking considering that the 18-year-old artist has an abundance of talent to contribute to the music industry. Ever since he applied his friend’s advice of remaining consistent until something blows up, Riovaz’s career has elevated in many ways. His viral hit “Prom Night” went viral back in 2020 with 108 million streams on Spotify and over 100,000 TikTok videos featuring his song. He was also recently named on one of Pigeons and Planes Best New Artists roundup.
On October 27, Riovaz released a new irresistible single titled “Tell Me Your Fears,” along with supporting visuals. On this track, the Darkroom/Geffen Records signee finds himself hypnotized by another person.
“This song captures my constant detachment from reality and the sudden reappearance of normalcy,” he explained. “I had just watched Donnie Darko before making this song and video, so that film was the last piece of this puzzle.”
Before his single release, I had the opportunity to catch up with Riovaz and learn a bit more about his journey thus far. Read our conversation in full below!
Lyrical Lemonade: What was it like growing up in Jersey City, NJ? Did living in Jersey have any influence on the music you created?
Riovaz: No, not really. There wasn’t much of a music scene out there at the time, we only really had Albee Al. He was the biggest Jersey City rapper and well-known musician, and Joe Budden too. Growing up I was able to watch Jersey City grow but now it’s taking off. Culturally, the fashion scene influences me but I wouldn’t say the music did.
Lyrical Lemonade: Did you struggle with deciding that you wanted to pursue a music career? Or was this something you wanted all along?
Riovaz:I knew. Even before I started making music, I knew when I was like, 5 that I wanted to make music. I dressed up as Michael Jackson and watched hella concerts – The Smiths, The Cure, and New Order. I’ve always imagined myself doing this.
Lyrical Lemonade: The pandemic was a difficult time in history for many people. In your case, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. How did your hit single “Prom Night” come about?
Riovaz: The pandemic was thankfully a blessing for me. I made “Prom Night” in 2019 when I was 15 and didn’t drop it until 5 months later because I didn’t like it but everyone kept telling me to drop it. It was my first indie/alternative song that I released and experimented with and that went crazy when it first dropped but then a year later, TikTok got a hold of it and now it has over 100 million streams. TikTok did its thing.
Lyrical Lemonade: Some artists struggle with using TikTok to promote their music. How did you use the app to market your music?
Riovaz: I’m just myself on TikTok, everyone tries too hard. They’re not unique and when people do the same thing over and over it’s just going to be diluted in everything else. If you stand out, making dance music when no one was singing on club beats – I think you just have to expand outside the box then people will gravitate towards it.
Lyrical Lemonade: What are some of your influences when it comes to music?
Riovaz: Jeff Hardy, the wrestler, was one of my influences ever. Musically, it’s Michael Jackson and Nebu Kiniza when I started rapping. Lyrically, I started getting into The Smiths and they really impacted my music a lot. Career-wise, Playboi Carti is the best. He has the career I want. From his come-up, the rage, the mystique…it’s too good.
Lyrical Lemonade: As a new artist, is it nerve-wracking to put out new music after having a viral song?
Riovaz: Not anymore. I dealt with that with “Prom Night” but I’m getting used to just dropping. I don’t freak out the way I used to. With “Prom Night” there was a lot of pressure on creating another viral song but I’m chilling now.
Lyrical Lemonade: You have a new song out titled “Tell Me Your Fears.” Why did you select that name for the single? What was the creative vision behind the video?
Riovaz: “Tell Me Your Fears” – it’s Halloween, let’s get spooky. The music was made soon after watching Donnie Darko. It influenced me to make something that’s danceable but eerie at the same time and the video is real-life facts. It’s me going in and out of reality every day, which isn’t fun but it’s facts, so we made it into a video. You can see what it’s like to live in my world.
Lyrical Lemonade: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Riovaz: PinkPantheress, that’s number one. Vic Fuentes from Pierce The Veil, Yunè Pinku, Benee, La Roux – that album was amazing – RX Papi, Julie of course. Other legends like Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, David Bowie too.
Lyrical Lemonade: What can we expect next in your career?
Riovaz: 27 everywhere. More Riovaz. That’s it.